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What is Sociology in the Philippines?

Early Philippine sociology emerged out of a not too thorough

mix of Spanish theoretical neo-thomism and early American
methodological concerns with neo-positivism. Throughout most of
this century it has been directed and dominated by American
funding both in the colonial and post-colonial period.
Consequently on both its achievements and limitation, Philippine
sociology displays most of the characteristics of American
sociology in exaggerated form. Weak in theoretical orientation,
Philippine sociology has made spectacular achievements in
quantitative research and sophistication of methodology. Similar
to the situation in many other developing nations, the social
sciences in the Philippines display many of the features of
premature technocratization. After more that decade of the New
society, Philippine Sociology has not yet freed itself of American
neo-colonial intellectual restrictions.
What is special about the way sociologists approach topics?
The subject matter of sociology is quite often invisible or not
directly observable. However sociologists can observe the
consequences of such social characteristics as group pressure,
authority, prestige and culture. They then form images of these
concepts using what C Wright Mills has called the sociological
imagination taking into account the influence in order to view
their own society as an outsider might.
What sort of questions do sociologists address?
Sociologists want to understand:
(a) what goes on in and between groups of people ;
(b) what are the social differences we observe;
(c) what is happening in social institutions;
(d) why and how social change is occurring.

What are the theories, concepts and propositions and how are they
A sociological issue as a question we seek to answer with a
theory or general explanation of a social phenomenon. A concept
is a category of behaviour, events or characteristics that are
considered similar for the sake of theory construction. A
proposition is a statement that explains one concept by means of
another. If we seek to discover why racial groups sometimes live
in harmony and sometimes so not, we may use the concept of
racial harmony to describe the differing ways of relating. The
behavior is defined as indicating harmony exists. We would then
state our theory in propositions for example different racial
groups will live in harmony in situations where enough work
exists for all groups to earn a decent living.
How did the discipline of sociology develop?
Sociology developed in the midst of the social and
intellectual upheaval surrounding the Industrial Revolution of the
19th century. Three branches of sociology grew from roots in
three interest groups: social activists a new breed of scientists
dedicated to applying the scientific approach to society and
philosophers interested in humanity's social nature.
What is the place of Marx, Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, Mead and
Weber in the development of sociology?
Karl Marx was the first major proponent of the conflict
perspective. He believed that inequality between classes causes
conflict between groups of people and that society must change
in order to fulfill the needs of all the people. Auguste Comte was
the French scientist who gave sociology its name and promoted
the scientific study of society. Herbert Spencer extended his work
developing the idea that society was an organic whole that could
be studied much like the human body- the beginnings of
structural-functionalism. Emile Durkheim also promoted sociology

as a science and structural -functionalism as a perspective with

his emphasis on social facts explaining other social facts -for
example in his classic study, Suicide. George Herbert Mead
focused on how we use symbols, including language and how our
use of symbols influences our social dev elopement and social
life. Max Weber's analysis of the major dynamics of society and
social change provides the foundations for much of the
sociological theory and research of our time. His study 'The
Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' was an important
study of the roots of the industrial Revolution which was
sweeping the world in his day.
What are the basic concepts of structural-functionalism, the conflict
approach and symbolic Interactionism?
Structural-functionalism assumes that order is dominant in
society and that social arrangements arise and persist because
they serve society and its members well. The conflict approach
assumes the dominant process in society is conflict and that
society divides into two groups the masses and small elite who
exploit them. The symbolic - interaction perspective assumes that
the important action in society takes place around the use of
symbols that channel our thoughts and thereby define what is
socially comprehensible and incomprehensible. Practitioners of
this approach often focus on interaction among individuals in
contrast to the other perspective which tend to look more at
social institutions.
What are the contributions of Mills, Collins, Parsons, Davis, Thomas
and Goffman to the development of these theories?
C Wright Mills effectively promoted a general conflict
perspective in the US focusing on social class differences and
introducing the concept of power elite, a tiny minority of
government, military and business figures believed to control the
US. Randal Collins is one of the most articulate voices today from
that perspective and he developed a formal theory of conflict

applicable to all levels o society, especially analyzing the

inequalities in the American educational system.Talcott Parsons
extended Durkheim's tradition into the 20th century developing
the idea that society could be viewed as a system that must
adapt to changes in its environment, pursue its goals, integrate
itself with other systems and maintain order within itself much
like a biological organism.Kingsley Davis is a major contemporary
proponent of this structural-functionalism perspective and he
analyses wealth and poverty from this viewpoint.W.I.Thomas
extended Mead's ideas, theorizing that people define or construct
their own social reality and that their definitions become real
because they are real in their consequences.Erving Goffman has
served as a major contemporary spokesperson for the symbolic
interaction perspective and he describes how people present
themselves in everyday life in order to manage the impression
they give to others.
What is the scientific method and how can it be applied to the study
of sociology?
The scientific method involves eight basic steps:
a) Observation of an event that stimulates thinking.
b) Defining or classifying the terms or events being considered.
c) Formulating the research issue or hypothesis.
d) Generating a theory or proposition - a general statement that
serves as a potential answer to the research question.
e) Creating a research design in order to test whether the theory
or proposition is valid.
f) Collecting data-working through the research design to make
g) Analyzing the data
h) Making conclusions and evaluating the theory.

What are the advantage and disadvantages of the survey method,

analysis of existing sources, observational study and experimental
research in the study of sociology?

A survey is a research method in which a representative

sample of a population is asked to respond to questions. In
principle every member of the population has an equal chance of
being selected so the survey should give an accurate
representation of the views of a population. However people may
try to answer questions as they think the survey interviewer
wants them to biasing the results of the research. Analysis of
existing sources is a research technique in which the researcher
uses existing documents that were created for some other
purpose. This research generally costs much less than the survey
allows access to otherwise unavailable subjects and to date over
long periods of time and involves data that is not influenced by
the interviewer. Documents used however may be biased toward
their original purpose and thus distort the true picture the
researcher is trying to find. In an observational study the
researcher actually witness social behavior in its natural setting
either as a participant or an unobtrusive observer. The advantage
of this study is that research is accomplished by directly
observing subjects' behavior thus permitting access to nonverbal
a well as verbal behaviour.Obervation also allows for study over a
time rather than at one point. An experiment is a research design
in which the researcher exposes a group of subjects to a
treatment and observes its effect usually in comparison to a
similar control group that did not receive the treatment.
Experiments can demonstrate clearly that a variable has a
particular effect on the subject group because the researcher
retains maximum control over the circumstances of the research.
However experiments are very expensive. Sometimes an aspect
of the experiment other than the treatment is the real cause of
the experiment's outcome but this goes unnoticed and the
artificiality of many experimental settings makes generalizing to
natural settings risky.
What are some of the challenges and ethical issues in the study of

Sociology faces the challenge of working with human beings

and their social groupings because people have rights that limit
what we can do with them while we are studying them.
Sociological subjects can give us important information but their
information can be distorted. Sociologists must decide whether
their own views will influence their research and theory
development, either believing that knowledge is neutral or that
value neutrality is either nave or a rationalization for the fact
that one is working for the elite because most sociological
research is funded by and disproportionately available to
powerful elites.

Population Education and

Family Planning

Ronel A. Sauza
BSEE / T3-1
Ms. Leah Rose Cada